HASHING OUT THE HASHTAG
We’ve all seen the skit between Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon centering around the hashtag (If you haven’t – click here) and we’ve all come back with the thought “Why would someone even use hashtags?”. Yes. We get it. That was excessive, but that’s the crazy part… hashtags aren’t just for silly nonsense words that you throw up onto your post. Hashtags are a way that people can find you and a way of grouping and nicheing certain topics together. You can totally use them to your advantage.
HOW DO HASHTAGS WORK?
Hashtags work as a way of grouping your posts in one place for people to easily search. Imagine when searching hashtags that you are casting out a net and only drawing in data that you want to see. Filtering out all the other subjects in your feed that you don’t want so you can focus solely on one. So if you’re looking for interior design you could search the hashtags #interiordesign, #interiorarchitechture, #interiors, #moderndesign and they would spit out posts related to that topic. Hashtags work as a way to create niches in the social media universe.
HOW DO YOU START USING HASHTAGS TO BENEFIT YOURSELF?
Start adding hashtags that are relevant to what your post is about. Keep in mind if you’re a business to use hashtags that your clients and buyers would search and use and not yourself. Example: If you sell knits and aren’t targeting knitters because they can make something similar to your item and won’t purchase then it would be silly to use the hashtags such as #knittersofinstagram, #knitting, #instaknit – because the people searching those hashtags aren’t the people who are going to buy. On instagram you can use a maximum of 30 hashtags on one post and you need to put them either into your comments section or caption within 15 minutes of posting or they drop lower in the algorithm.
HOW THE EFF DO I FIND MY RELEVANT HASHTAGS
Welcome to the time-suck. Finding your hashtags is NOT easy and everyone’s are different. Copying and pasting a friends hashtags isn’t going to help you. I am le sorry.. Every feed is different. If you’re looking to find hashtags that suit your feed the best there’s a really great way to search in Instagram. Type in the one hashtag you know of in the search bar that you think applies to your brand. Once it loads you’ll notice a whole bunch of other related hashtags in blue at the top of your screen. Go down the rabbit hole and see if some of those hashtags may be ones you want to use later on. Even better? Write them in the notes section of your phone so you can copy and past them next time you need them.
THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN HASHTAGGING
- Using hashtags that are too popular – When looking for the sweet spot in hashtag use, you don’t want to use one that is overused and has a million posts associated with it. In the index search hashtags go chronologically. So if 20 people use the same hashtag seconds after you did, your post get’s bumped 20 spots down (Unless you hit the “top nine” on the top of the search – we will tlak about this in a later blog post). Now you’ll be digging to find your post. Try hashtags that have anywhere from 30-150K posts. Popular, but not insane.
- Don’t use generic hashtags. Thing like #smile #sun and #friends sound great, but everyone uses them and they don’t have a specific focus. Did your dog make you smile? Did an icecream cone? You are not the generic brand. Stop using generic hashtags.
- Stealing hashtags. One of the most annoying things I see is people piggy-backing off of other hashtags that their posts aren’t relevant to. This mainly happens to companies. A knitting example is the hashtag #weareknitters. Though it’s a kick ass hashtag, it’s also a company that has branded their kits and yarn to it. If you aren’t using their products or aren’t knitting a kit of theirs don’t use their hashtag. The people searching for that company and their products will only get confused when they see photos that aren’t relevant to that business. Be kind to your fellow peeps. They will thank you for it!
Whatever you do, try and use hashtags to your advantage! I’ve had them triple, if not quadruple the amount of likes, views and engagement on my posts. They seriously make a huge difference – so use em’ or loose em!